BBBSLV and Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center partner on recent project

The mentoring gap of more than 100 local boys in need of a male mentor has led nonprofit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley to look for new ways to connect with men in the Lehigh Valley.

BBBSLV recently worked with the Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center in a 10-week partnership with 12 marketing students, two industrial systems engineering students, Marketing Professor James Maskulka, and advisors. Together they were tasked with two challenges facing BBBSLV: recruitment of male mentors and improving the efficiency of the mentor intake process.

The goals of the partnership were to increase the number of male volunteers recruited for the program, and also to evaluate and make recommendations to decrease the number of days it takes from initial volunteer inquiry to Big and Little match.

The first key takeaway from the project was the recommendation that BBBSLV should use storytelling videos during the intake process to help new mentors better understand what the organization does and what their role as a Big Brother or Big Sister will be like in order to better manage expectations. The other key takeaway was to continue using social media marketing to expand the nonprofit organization’s reach into the community. The organization currently engages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, as well as with videos on YouTube.

“We would like to thank the students and faculty at Lehigh University for their research, time, and insights to help us connect with and find the male mentors for boys in our community,” said BBBSLV CEO Susan Bartels. “Our team will be evaluating our procedures and our current marketing efforts to reach this audience, and will begin implementing the recommendations soon.”

B. Braun Medical, National Magnetics Group, and Quadrant Private Wealth provided funding for the project.

The Enterprise Systems Center is a Lehigh University research center in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. It has been a national center of excellence in systems engineering and leadership development through experiential learning for several decades. Since its inception, more than 1,125 research and development projects with over 450 industry partners have been completed. More than 4,125 undergraduate and graduate students from the engineering, business and arts/science colleges collaborated to help achieve a high rate of return on investment deliverables. Research efforts are driven by industry needs and historically have been focused in the areas of operations research, analytics, supply chain and logistics, management science, product innovation, sustainability, and agile manufacturing.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For over 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley has partnered with parents/guardians, schools, corporations, and others in the Lehigh Valley to pair children (Littles) with qualified, trained volunteers (Bigs) and monitor these one-to-one relationships throughout their course.